Old landmark returns to new heights atop Brethen Tower

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The famed Callahan Clock has been restored to its former glory with a new use.

Wednesday, Carillon Historical Park hosted a dedication ceremony to mark the clock’s debut atop a newly built observation tower.

The 100-foot structure, called “Brethen Tower,” is named for the Brethen Foundation, a local family organization which helped fund the construction and restoration.

“It’s just a neat thing,” David Brethen said. “It was part of the community, it was part of the look of the city and I missed it when it was gone.”

Wednesday’s dedication was the third such ceremony the clock has seen. The large clock sat atop the Callahan building, later called the Gem City Savings building, before moving near I-75 and U.S. 35.

Dayton History inherited the clock in 2006, displaying it on the Carillon Park’s grounds until it raised enough money to hoist it onto its new perch.

Brady Kress, the president and CEO of Dayton History said the landmark is a perfect bookend for the park, opposite the iconic carillon.

“I think this really gives a sense that, hey, Carillon Park is more than just the carillon. It’s a full museum,” said Kress.

If you climb the 120 metal steps to the top of the tower, your reward is a panoramic view of the Great Miami River, Carillon Park and downtown Dayton.

Brethen called it a treat for the community that backed its return.

“This clock has gotten into people’s hearts and they just love it,” he said. “It was just a natural (thing) to bring something back to Dayton that they love.”

Eventually, Dayton History plans to develop the land surround the clock tower and add exhibits explaining the landmarks visible from the observation deck.

The tower is currently closed to public, but Kress estimated it would be open by winter 2018.

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